In our last thrilling episode, my car was on the verge of doing something awful . . .
Well, life was looking rather glum. With various obligations – student loans, credit cards, and other adult responsibilities, I just couldn’t fathom adding to my load with yet another set of bills. The big mistake, in my opinion, that people make when they purchase a new (or new-to-them) vehicle is that they fail to consider the full costs involved, to wit: the monthly costs of full insurance coverage, the anticipated weekly expenses of gas, maintenance, title, taxes, and other fees. Unless you’ve got a great insurance agent, you should seriously consider adding at least $200 to any monthly car payment. Thus, that $385-a-month debt that sounds attractive is actually closer to $600 per month when factoring in insurance, and in my case, closer to $800 per month when I add in the costs for that weekly fill-up. Not good at all.
For some reason, I was starting to feel like a failure, despite the fact that millions of other people – dare I say, billions? – of people do not own a motor vehicle. Maybe it was the fear of the expected difficulties that I would have to endure while trying to incorporate yet another bill into my already-overloaded-slate; maybe it was due to my frustration in having to deal with yet another financing company that will somehow take advantage of me like last time (thanks, Chase!). Maybe it was because I love my now comatose Accord. Regardless of the reason, I was just wanted to crawl into a hole and vanish. I’m serious.
Here’s where faith comes into play: I don’t believe in chance. I might refer to it, I might suggest it, but I honestly believe that everything that happens – good or bad – happens as a part of a divine plan. I don’t foist this on people; it is my belief. Unlike some of the folks I know, I believe that I am subject to God’s will, not that He’s subject to mine. I managed to have this car for nearly eight years while on this job (80 miles round trip), and with the exception of replacing tires, brakes, a muffler, and the catalytic converter, I’ve had no major issues with this vehicle. In retrospect, it is a genuine miracle that I’ve been able to meet the obligations I’ve had with this car considering the amount of driving I’ve done. And this wasn’t a new car – it was just over eight years old when I got it – so I’ve gotten my value from it. There are other people who are in far worse situations than I am, and they survive; holding a pity party (when things could have been so much worse) is not only silly, it’s offensive. I was resolved to quit crying and to start doing.
So yesterday, the Little Woman and I went out (courtesy of a borrowed vehicle) to hunt down a replacement. I can’t avoid buying another car; my job depends on me being mobile. In my case, my job also impacts several other people and their lives; not making any attempt at finding a replacement is not a viable option for me. (Well, there is an inter-county bus line, but that’s a worst-case situation for me; if I miss the bus, I’m stuck 40 miles away for an additional 4 hours.) I had little hope of finding a new ride quickly, especially since I wanted another Accord. I’ve had Accords for 20 years, and the idea of getting something else seemed . . . unnatural. That said, I didn’t realize how much the newer models were going for nowadays. Great balls of fire! A 2008 with 124,000 miles on it for $10,000? Really? I know that an Accord can get into the mid-400,000 miles range before they die (mine is dying really young at 150K), but even that fact doesn’t justify that price. Each car I examined, whether an Accord or not, seemed to be more costly than its predecessor; my faith was failing and the sharp, cold wind wasn’t helping in the least.
That’s when I found it.
A small, 2011 Chevy. I’ve rented Chevys, but I’ve never owned one. The salesman produced a key, and after a few formalities, we were on the road doing a test drive. I liked it, despite it being slightly smaller than what I normally drove. It even has a CD player, which sounds like a “duh” statement, but given that I saw a surprising number of cars without them, I was afraid that there was a whole season where CDs were passé. (Besides, my Accord still has a cassette player, and I’d been very content playing my old George Clinton tapes.) I’ll have a lot of converting to do, it seems.
The paperwork was so fast, it wasn’t even funny. Within an hour of arriving at the lot, I was approved, given a ridiculously low rate, and, had I arranged for full coverage prior to visiting, I could have driven off the lot with new wheels. The only negative was that I’ll have to finance it for 60 months to get the monthly payments I’d wanted. But I can work with that.
So, it seems that I am (or will be) mobile yet again. I’m feeling good and I’m actually pretty excited. So excited, in fact, I just may start to cook . . .